November 14, 2011

Tech gets pep talk

Teams that have too much swagger often find themselves getting into trouble both on and off the field, but Texas Tech football is in dire need of something after losing to Oklahoma State 66-6.

The Red Raider defense most likely is what it is with key losses like cornerback Tre'Vante Porter and now Donald Langley. The Tech offense, however, had been productive up until the Iowa State game three weeks ago and it's going up against a defense in Missouri's that held Texas to just three points in a 17-5 victory.

Without even taking much of a formal look at the Tigers, Tech quarterback Seth Doege said it's not so much what Mizzou does but what the Red Raider offense can do against them.

"I'm sure they're a great defense," Doege said while performing his weekly Monday media duties which includes the luncheon, radio interviews and even dealing with some Facebook issues. "I haven't really watched film on them yet. I do that after this. I feel like what we need to do is not worry about too much of them and start focusing on what we need to do to get back to our swag as an offense and have some confidence and get going again."

It's been a rough three weeks for the offense, no doubt about it. Tech has been outscored by an incredible amount since its victory at then-No. 2 Oklahoma.

People outside the program hang onto that Oklahoma win -- Tech's most recent of five this season -- wondering what's gone wrong since.

"We're still trying to figure that out ourselves," Doege was forced to admit. "That's what we're trying to get back to. We feel like we're the same team. It's just one of those things. In Iowa State, we kind of weren't ready to play.

"Then Texas, offensively, we played pretty well, and then defensively we had some work to do, and Oklahoma State was both sides of the ball that really didn't take care of business."

So confidence is the key, at least the public key, entering this week's road game.

Head coach Tommy Tuberville said the offense's recent struggles aren't offensive coordinator Neal Brown's fault.

"A lot of times it's just about having confidence and making that play and getting it done," Tuberville said. "I thought early in the season we were getting better and better each week. We got to a point, and when we got to that point, we haven't improved. We've digressed.

"You can point a lot of fingers at it, but when it all comes back to one thing, the thing that I want to do more, Neal wants to do more, and this team needs to do more is be able to run the football. Not put all the pressure on the guy having to throw the ball down the field."

Brown said after Saturday's game he needed to pick his guys off the floor.

Receiver Alex Torres said the team meetings Sunday accomplished that goal.

"We had a lot of good talks with our coaches," receiver Alex Torres said. "They touched on some good things. They really brought us up. They touched on our confidence and what kind of team we really do have. He's done a good job throughout the week and Sunday it felt real heartfelt when he called out specific players and told them how good they really are…

"We hit a slump and lost some of that confidence and this team is trying to recover from that. When things go wrong we question our confidence. I think our coach helped us realize that shouldn't be an issue."

Torres said the offense has gone back and looked at some of the big plays they had earlier in the season and they've been reminded those are still in the playbook.

Tuberville said football is supposed to be fun and it hasn't been very much fun the past three weeks. Hopefully, with a renewed since of confidence, the offense can get going and the rest of the team will follow the lead.

Well, it's hard to play with emotion when you're 25 points behind. It's almost impossible. So we've got to play better on both sides. It's not -- offense, obviously, hasn't played nearly as well as they played early in the year. Defensively we've been up and down.

"I think the biggest thing this week is to make it fun," Tuberville said. "Get them to the game where they've got that energy to play with passion. Then hopefully we can get some momentum. We talk about emotion. It looks like at times we don't have emotion.

"It's hard to play with emotion when you're 25 points behind. It's almost impossible. So we've got to play better on both sides. It's not -- offense, obviously, hasn't played nearly as well as they played early in the year. Defensively we've been up and down."

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